5 Reasons To Eat More Fruit And Vegetables: That Do Not Include Them Being Delicious!
By Leyla Ahmet
I love eating fruits and veggies not just because they taste delicious but because they are a whole food and almost always ready to eat from plant to mouth!
When I see a tree with cherries dripping from the branches, or a pomegranate split open by the sunshine with ruby red jewels inside I feel life is a miracle! It makes me stop in awe and give thanks. Taking a moment to honor the birds and bees who pollinate the flowers and the rainfall and the sunshine that allow life to flourish. And then there is the farmer and harvester to think about for their care and attention and the people who bring the fruit to the market. It all makes me realize I am both infinitely small and conversely a part of an amazing and vast world.
5 reasons to eat more fruit and vegetables:
1. Glowing Skin
While there is nothing that can halt time and stop us from getting older, there are fruits which contain high antioxidant properties and phytonutrients that can keep your skin feeling firm, bright and young. Even though there is something that should be revered about getting older and wiser we are still a society that is fixated on holding onto youth.
Here is a list of fruits chock full of vitamins and phytonutrients that also contain goodness to fight free radicals, and slow down the aging process.
Kiwi: This magnificent fruit is chock full vitamin C and E. These antioxidant compounds help delay the formation of fine lines and reduce skin damage due to free radicals.
Pomegranate: Increases the skins collagen. This is the elasticity and firmness you may remember from your teenage years that your skin had.
Avocado: Rich in good fats, which keeps the skin plump and hydrated. There is vitamin E and B-complex vitamins which are both wonderfully nourishing for your skin. There is potassium, which helps moisturize and hydrate the skin. And there is also a compound called glutathione, which assists in the anti-aging process.
Papaya: Is a natural complexion toner and fights the formation of wrinkles while its Vitamins A, C and E will nourish the skin. You can experience its benefits by applying it as a mask or eating it.
Berries: These are the new wonder fruit. Try to buy berries that are grown locally as these will be the most “super” for you. Berries contain some of the highest concentrations of antioxidants and vitamin C which will help your skin stay firm and wrinkle-free. Some great berries to try are acerola cherriers, blueberries, raspberries and acai.
Grapes: A remedy for those of us who have been beach lovers. Think sun kissed skin and windswept hair. If this is you then increase the amount of grapes you eat. They work better when they are not in wine!
2. Oxidative Stress
Oxidation happens under a number of circumstances,when our cells use glucose to make energywhen the immune system is fighting off bacteria and creating inflammation when our bodies detoxify pollutants, pesticides, and cigarette smoke when we are exercising hard (training for a marathon) and/or emotionally stressed. In fact, there are millions of processes taking place in our bodies at any one moment that can result in oxidation. It is a problem because the free radicals resulting from oxidation damage cells, proteins and our DNA (genes). It is known to cause ageing, grey hair, wrinkles, arthritis and decreased eye sight,
Signs to look for: Fatigue, loss of memory, sore muscles after training, premature grey hair, diminishing eye sight, headache, sensitivity to noise and low immunity.
My favorite oxidation busting foods are super colorful and tasty: Beetroot, kale, berries, tomatoes, asparagus, peaches, walnuts, spinach, avocados and cruciferous vegetables!
3) Heal And Detox
Increasing fruit in your diet or doing a fruit detox helps not only to reduce sugar cravings but also cleanses your system of built up toxins. Every cell in your body depends heavily on vitamins and minerals to create new cells and sustain the existing ones.
4) Weight Loss
Weight loss happens when we start to add more fruits and vegetables to our diet. This is an incredible side effect that comes along when our body is functioning better. Digestion begins in the eyes, when we see our food and start to desire it, then in the mouth as we produce saliva. The stomach gets involved much further down the track. Take time to cut your fruit and veggies and give thanks to them as you place them in the blender or in your mouth. Better digestion equates to less cravings, better food choices and weight loss.
5) Immune System
When a cold is “going around” the office or the flu at school you might want to boost yours and your families immune system by getting an extra good dose of fruits and vegetables, exercise and sleep. Great additions to your diet to help the immune system are spinach, kale, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, strawberries, papaya, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Increasing vitamin C, E, B6, A, D, Folic acid, Iron, selenium and zinc will ensure you stay in tip top health.
My favorite Green smoothie:
1 large avocado
1 cup pineapple
4 stalks of celery
6-8 leaves of kale
Vanilla complete protein powder
Cold Avocado Soup:
You an also get creative with your juices, try this pizza substitute smoothie:
The very best thing you can do for your body is to eat organic and local fruits and vegetables. There are times when your intake does not always meet the recommended guidelines for optimum daily consumption and health. In these cases I would recommend investing in some juice powder concentrates. My personal favorite brand is Juice Plus.
Cover Photo from Rosanna Davison Nutrition.